Anatomy of a pasty story

28th March, 2012 9:33 pm

Update: Downing Street have now said the hot pastry item was purchased in Liverpool not Leeds. Ah well Dave, thy all look the same don’t they, those Northern towns? That’s our totally in touch PM right there…


A few weeks ago, after David Cameron’s story about how he hadn’t (but actually had) ridden Rebekah Brooks’ on-loan Met Police horse collapsed embarrassingly, I wrote a brief, flippant post – “An anatomy of a horse story”. I didn’t expect to be doing the same again just weeks later, and definitely not on the subject of pasties, but this Tory government are beyond satire, so here we are…

If you’re sick of reading stories about pasties (and I quite understand if you are), please stop right now. If not, read on…

Firstly, the PM had eaten a pasty recently. His description was rather vivid:

“I love a hot pasty. I think the last one I bought was from the West Cornwall Pasty Company. I seem to remember I was in Leeds station at the time. The choice was to have one of their small ones or their large ones. I’ve got a feeling I opted for the large one and very good it was too.”

Alas, like “horsegate”, Cameron wasn’t certain for long, as his story came crashing into reality.

The West Country Pasty store in Leeds closed 5 years ago. There now are no pasty shops in Leeds station (the last one tragically closed a few days ago). Then his spokesman was forced to go on the record about his pasty habits, admitting that the offending hot meat and pastry item might not even have been eaten in Leeds at all. Basically, the anecdote – so carefully crafted and clearly delivered – may well have been nonsense.

David Cameron has managed to flip flop on the thorny issue of whether/where he’d eaten a hot foodstuff. If he can’t be straight about silly stories like this, or whether or not he rode a certain horse, then how can we be sure that he’s being straight about genuinely important issues?

It may be silly season. But there’s a serious point here…

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